Afridigest Fintech Review: A busy week from fundraises to product launches to partnerships & more
Week 37: September 11-17
The Afridigest Fintech Review is a weekly recap of what happened in African fintech.
Hello again, friends! Remember: this Fintech Review goes out on Sundays, the regular Week in Review goes out on Mondays, and the French-language Revue de la Semaine goes out on Wednesdays. Assuming no delays, of course. Send me your feedback here: Whatsapp, Twitter, and email. And help me share & spread the word about this Fintech Review. 🙏🏽
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On to this week’s highlights:
• Six fintech deals announced for ~$22M in disclosed funding.
• Bain published an interesting report on the embedded finance value chain.
• Our Startup Spotlight returns — this week features Nigerian cross-border payments & currency swapping platform Cudium whose launch was featured in last week’s Fintech Review.
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Week 37: September 11-17
🇳🇬 Capsa Technology, a Nigerian online marketplace for SME account receivables, was selected for the Techstars Detroit inaugural class of 2022 and receives $120K. (Techstars offers $20K in exchange for a 6% equity and an optional $100K convertible note.)
💰 Venture Funds
Africa-focused VC funds Unicorn Growth Capital and EchoVC joined the Celo Foundation in supporting Web3 projects across Africa.
🤝🏻 Mergers & Acquisitions
Naijacrypto, a Nigerian cryptocurrency exchange, was acquired for an undisclosed amount by PowerDFI, an American blockchain-powered platform. PowerDFI’s motivation here seems to primarily be in bolstering its technology with Naijacrypto’s technical infrastructure.
🚀 Partnerships & Product Launches
Providus Bank, Mastercard, Interswitch, and Thales launched contactless Tap-to-Pay transactions in Nigeria. The service allows Nigerian Mastercard holders to make in-store payments via NFC-enabled smart devices.
Ecobank launched RapidCollect. The service allows Ecobank’s business customers to receive cross-border payments from clients instantly and at what Ecobank says is “a lower cost than any other current cross-border solution.”
Flutterwave launched eNaira collections for merchants in Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria is trying various approaches to promote its beleaguered Central Bank Digital Currency, Africa’s first. Flutterwave, a model fintech citizen on the IPO hunt, is happy to help — integrating a service that no one uses.
Verto announced a partnership with Xente to provide cross-border payment services to NGOs in Uganda. Verto will leverage Xente’s connectivity in Africa, which permits customers to pay verified beneficiaries even in remote areas.
Cellulant and Orange Botswana announced a partnership to promote card-to-wallet payments in the country. All Orange Botswana SIM card holders with bank accounts will be able to send money from their accounts to any Orange Money wallet.
📰 News of the Week
Brazilian payments unicorn EBANX announced plans to enter Africa, starting with Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. This is the latest evidence that African markets are attractive, fertile ground, not just for local fintechs, but for global players too. João Del Valle, EBANX CEO and Co-Founder said: “This is the moment for Africa, and it’s quite reminiscent of the Latin American landscape back in 2012… Africa’s fast-growing digital economy is only in its early days, and it’s projected to grow up and to the right for the next few decades.”
📑 Read of the Week
Embedded Finance: What it takes to prosper in the new value chain. A solid US-centric report from Bain on the dynamics of embedded finance.
“[With embedded finance,] the traditional, bank-driven value chain shifts to a new ecosystem that typically requires four main participants: the end customer, platforms that own the customer relationship, software enablers that help meet complex regulatory and technological requirements, and a regulatory services or license provider. Firms can take on multiple roles and models [but the new value chain favors platforms.]”
🚀 Startup Spotlight
This week, we posed four questions to Founding CMO Akeem Osungbade & Cudium Co-Founders Adejumobi AbdulRahman, Alabi Junaid, Okunlola Sheriffdeen, and Olagunju Sodiq. (The responses have been lightly edited for clarity.)
Please describe Cudium. What's the one-sentence pitch?
Cudium is a cross-border payments marketplace that aims to solve the complex problems of international money exchange with a decentralized peer-to-peer platform.
How did you come up with the idea? What attracted you to the opportunity?
Our Founder & CEO Adejumobi AbdulRahman is an experienced trader with deep first-hand experience with the various difficulties involved in making overseas payments. It’s a problem that resonates strongly with our entire team & we resolved to do something about it. Plus it’s a very large market.
There are many other players in the cross-border payments space, how will Cudium stand out? What makes Cudium different?
We are hyper-customer-focused and customer-oriented and focused on ease of use. We will also have a robust, all-in-one offering with a wide variety of services on the same platform, allowing users to make transactions, withhold, receive, send, convert and trade local & international currencies with virtual accounts and virtual cards. Finally, our peer-to-peer feature that results in highly competitive exchange rates is another thing that will differentiate us.
What are the key opportunities & key risks for Cudium?
The market is large and the possibilities are endless as there are very significant & urgent pain points that we can solve. We’re building a painkiller, not a vitamin.
As far as risks, the uncertainty of new regulations within Nigeria is something we have our eyes on but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
👔 People Moves
Jaime Pinto (formerly Business Development Director in charge of West, Francophone & Lusophone Africa) was appointed Chief Commercial Officer for the Africa region at digital transformation and financial inclusion platform Software Group.
'Nifemi Oluboyede (formerly Product Manager, Credit) was appointed Head of Product, Credit at Kuda Bank.
Grace Anyetei was appointed Regional Director of Operations, Africa at Leaf Global Fintech, an IDT subsidiary. She was previously the New Business & Market Development Lead for East Africa at British issuer-processor Paymentology.
📜 Other News, Reads, and Media
Kenyan regulator drops financial crimes charges against three Nigerian firms.
MFS Africa will be the first recipient of an IFAD grant for mobile remittances in rural Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, and The Gambia.
KoinKoin, an Africa-focused digital assets exchange, announced that annual revenues have reached $40M five years after launch.
Kenya gives digital lenders a 3-day ultimatum to comply with new regulations.
The Central Bank of Nigeria joined the blockchain-oriented Hyperledger Foundation.
Cross-border payments and trade across the African continent (BBC Africa - Video)
Charles Savage, Founder of EasyEquities (BizNews - Video)
Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph and Duke Ekezie-Joseph, Co-Founders, Kippa (Kippa - Video)
Akshay Grover, CEO, Cellulant (Built Tough - Podcast)
Djiba Diallo, Fintech Lead, Ecobank (PYMNTS - Podcast)
Dare Okoudjou, Founder and CEO of MFS Africa (Built Tough - Podcast)
How Nigerian neobank Kuda incurred a loss of over $14 million in 2021 (TechCabal)
If carefully managed, “Buy Now, Pay Later” can bring more people into the financial system (Asian Development Bank Blog)
Why fintech in Africa is attractive to investors & innovators (Afridigest.com)
Zimbabwe’s PostMoney has (almost) everything needed to succeed in the domestic remittance market, will it though? (Techzim)
To scale in African markets today, startups need to run hybrid strategies (Afridigest.com)
🐤 Tweets of the Week
Breaking news in payments:
A thread on formality, informality, credit, and arbitrage:
Eversend’s CEO provides some context behind their recently announced 1M downloads milestone:
🗣️ Community Corner and Opportunities (feel free to send yours in)
Nigerian open finance infrastructure platform Okra is hiring a Product Marketer (remote)
Pan-African crypto & fintech platform Yellow Card is hiring a Product Manager (remote)
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Thanks for reading 🙌🏽